The Civilized Engineer

Samuel C. Florman

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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Noted author and civil engineer Samuel Florman here offers a work aimed at those observing or studying engineering as well as at today's practicing engineers.

The Civilized Engineer is primarily concerned with the cultural development of today's engineers, or lack thereof, and thus calls for more historical, aesthetic, literary, and philosophical awareness on the part of all who study engineering. The book aims not only to reveal but to explore the art behind our great engineering achievements—and to stimulate debate regarding Florman's hypothesis that "in its moment of ascendance, engineering is faced with the trivialization of its purpose and the debasement of its practice."


Praise for The Civilized Engineer

"Essential reading . . . [Florman's] lucid prose is readily accessible to anyone who wants to know more about the profession most influential in shaping the 20th Century."—Philadelphia Inquirer

"With The Civilized Engineer, Florman has written his most substantial book to date . . . Enjoyable to read . . . The book is a useful aid for focusing one's own (often unexamined) views on what it now means and what it should mean to be an engineer."—Technology and Society

"Florman is the man we've been looking for. Incredible as the combination may appear, he is both a practicing engineer and a truly gifted writer."—Fortune

"The Civilized Engineer is remarkable simply because there is no other engineer author who talks to engineers the way Florman does. Any intelligent engineer who doesn't want to think like a frog in an enclosed pond would do well to read this book."—Engineering Times

"Mr. Florman is a respected professional engineer and a man of wide cultivation. He writes with beautiful clarity and his wit springs from his material; it is not appliqué. The reader is never in doubt about what Mr. Florman is saying. In an age of murky prose, this quality alone would win him an enthusiastic readership."—The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Samuel C. Florman

  • Samuel C. Florman, a civil engineer, is a principal in a major New York area construction company. In addition to The Civilized Engineer, he has written Blaming Technology, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering, and Engineering and the Liberal Arts. He lives in New York City.

  • Samuel C. Florman Cetera